I have once more a working computer at my disposal. The hard drive was corked. It was either replace the drive on a 2007 MacBook that I have lovingly ushered through three operating program updates, two hard drive replacements (one catastrophic drive failure, one sizeable upgrade), one coffee incident, several cookie crumbs, a RAM upgrade, and one free-from-Apple-faceplate-replacement, and propped up with add-ons for years, OR bite the bullet and say good-bye.
Over the years, I have done research, learned how to tinker and install things myself. I have ventured in the scary realm of the terminal. I've learned to troubleshoot when the troubleshooting guides give you bupkis. I have learned to enjoy the blue streaks from an over-friendly textbook that won't come off the no-longer-exactly-white exterior and a slightly scratched screen with wear marks from too many travel hours spent squished against the keys. I've scoured the dreg corners of the tech stores looking for the outdated connector that goes from mini-DVI to HDMI and have a only vague idea of what those letters mean... It's been an extra-appendage for years - my tv when I lived in Edmonton, essential for work when I moved back, indispensable for school, and I've gradually begun doing more and more on it. My life is moving in a digital direction and I'm torn about whether I'm comfortable with that.
I knew that the new OS this summer would probably be Hamish's last. (Yes, my MacBook's name is Hamish. We've talked about my propensity to name things...) There just comes a time when your hardware is no longer compatible with the software you ask it to run. I was more than prepared to roll up my sleeves and wait it out. Replace the drive (so much easier than in sounds, by the way) and see if I could get by. I might have eked a few more years out of it. Who knows?
My family decided I was crazy. They very kindly offered to pay for the replacement drive or, as a graduation gift, replace the whole laptop. I am incredibly fortunate and thankful.
Last night, I sat in the living room watching a movie and transferring my backup of Hamish, to Argyll, the new laptop. While a young Jeff Bridges battled an evil program in Tron, (fitting, no?), I took the tiny screwdrivers and opened Hamish. I slid out the failed hard drive, and reinstalled the one I'd outgrown more than a year ago. I wiped it, and installed Snow Leopard, the last operating system we'll probably see booted from a CD. I had a moment, watching the movie and tinkering, reflecting on how much the world has changed since the computer became a household item.
I remembered when the first kid on the block got a computer. It had a greenish black screen and a blocky, orange cursor and sat in the corner of the kitchen. There was no such animal as a font. You loaded the system from a floppy disk, which was actually floppy, and waited, contently, a long time for it to boot. Then you switched disks and booted for each program you wanted to run. Playing Hangman was state of the art. Storage drives had kilobytes of memory at their disposal. Kilobytes! Ha. Now even the most basic cellular phone has far more than that. You have more computing power in your pocket than the best home computer of the age. Heck, a single picture taken on your phone could have overwhelmed a hard drive in the eighties. Most iPods can hold more than the original iMac could less than twenty years ago.
It no longer takes forever to get online and you don't have to stay home or give up the landline to do it. We don't keep in touch by bumping into someone in the grocery store and having coffee, or asking someone's mother about they're doing after church. (Well, I do, I guess. I don't have Facebook. :)
I was thankful that I'd remembered to backup my hard drive regularly and had done one only two weeks ago. And then I lamented that it was TWO WEEKS ago! I lost two weeks worth of stuff, media downloads and photos mostly, and it's really just the photos that sting. It astonishes me that I can take hundreds of pictures in a day and delete half of them as not being any good without any care. Two weeks used to be the time you'd wait to get twenty-four photos back from the drugstore. Thirty-six if you splurged.
Thirty-six was the number of seconds it took this photo to get from my phone to Argyll by email.
It's the same but different.
I'm wondering what to do with Hamish. It's refurbed and what-not. I'd feel selfish keeping it as a spare when it could still be of use to someone and yet, I'd feel kinda guilty selling it or giving it away. Call it the R2D2 factor.... Maybe it'll make a cool gift for a five-year-old nephew in a few years...? I'm sure I'll figure it out.
Anyway, I have about 5 days of internet reading and email to catch up on, two weeks of information and documents to track down, and several days of re-downloading media to endure. But I have my health, an incredible family, a warm, dry place to sleep, and overwhelming sense of nostalgia to get my through it. I've got it pretty good.
Oh! and backup your computer. Do it now instead of "meh, I'll do it later."